County Formation

The patriots in the west were terribly disserved by the colonial capitals in Savannah, Charleston, New Bern, and Williamsburg. They moved them off the coast to more central locations. They placed as many functions with the counties as could be well performed there instead of relying on the states. The counties took over the Anglican Parish organizations which performed governmental functions (registry of births, deaths, and marriages and civil courts).

Tracking frontier families is complicated by their propensity to migrate farther west and further that in a single place, county lines and jurisdictions kept shifting. Joseph Walker, for example, lived in Albemarle County, VA. The royal governor granted land for cash or in lieu of payment for services to Dr. Walker’s Loyal Land Company. The Wolf Hill tract, now Abingdon VA was in Augusta County. The proclamation of 1763 made the tract almost worthless. I suspect that Dr. Walker staked out twice the acreage due as did Edward Pendleton on other tracts. Then Augusta county split off Botetourt. Samuel and Agnes Colville in Frederick County bought a tract through Dr. Walker’s agent in Staunton, Daniel Smith. They died en route, so brother Andrew Colville registered the deed for their orphans in Fincastle County. The Fincastle County deed book is sustained in Montgomery County. Samuel Colville, Junior’s estate settlement was recorded in Washington County where his younger brothers inherited the farm.

Not just counties, but states of record could shift. East Nashville, for example, was once in Virginia when the Cumberland River was the state line. Land grants for the counties north of the river were moved to Frankfort when the Commonwealth of Kentucky obtained statehood. Meanwhile Nashville sustains land grant records from North Carolina grans in Northern Alabama given when the Tennessee River was the state line.

Samuel Newell built Newell’s Station, now Seymour Tennessee in 1783 near the Blount Knox, Sevier County corner. The land was opened to white settlers by agreement with Cherokee chiefs in Chotah on 25Dec1780 and subsequent treaties. That made it part of North Carolina which granted it to the aborted state of Franklin. North Carolina changed her mind and reclaimed it, then changed their mind and granted it to the Federal Government. William Blount was military governor of the federal Territory South of the Ohio River. He moved the Newell Station responsibilities from Greene County NC to Knox County of the new territory, then Sevier County of the territory. Indian agent Joseph Martin made a new treaty with the Cherokees at Hopewell SC which reset the boundary at the French Broad River. About 1500 settlers for as long as 15 years were suddenly out of bounds. In 1796, the new Tennessee constitution granted limited rights to citizens south of the French Broad in Cocke, Sevier, and Blount Counties even though they were citizens in the Cherokee nation. The Sevier County records were lost in a courthouse fire. Brabson’s Ferry at Boyds Creek acquired from Andrew Evans, can be proven despite the lost Sevier County records. The quit claim deed was recorded in Wayne County KY even though Evans lived in Pulaski County.

Orange County VA split
Virginia counties
Anglican parishes
Virginia 1770
Virginia 1776
Local cities assume some county functions

South Carolina developed similar to Virginia with the name “District” instead of “County.” Of not is the “New Acquisition District” which took much of Tryon and Mecklenburg Counties from North Carolina into South Carolina.
South Carolina County Formation

North Carolina developed similar to VA and SC.
North Carolina County Formation